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Artist, educator and professor Ravikumar Kashi comments about the changing scenario in the Indian political and social milieu in his new show titled Silent Echo. The exhibition, which opened on January 31 at Sakshi Gallery in Colaba, Mumbai, comprises installations and books created by him. It focusses on how an object depicts our past and present and derives new meaning each time it is used.

The Bengaluru-based artist has created installations made from recycled and second-hand objects. The show gets its name from the centrepiece, which is a sculptural installation, presented in the shape of a boat and is made from mesh and paper pulp. It evokes many metaphors of the current times where hope and despair are experienced in equal measure. It makes a comment on the consumerist nature of the current generation and the degenaration of moral values amongst the power holders.

Kashi says, “When we talk about echo in terms of sound, it denotes noise but when we refer to it visually, it refers to silence. As I’m using the visual medium and echoing things outside my personal zone, the exhibition is called Silent Echo. Though I am talking about external things affecting us internally, I’m doing it in a suggestive way.”

Explaining the thought behind the boat, he adds, “It depicts the theme of dislocation and migration, how people are losing their identity and fighting for it. The piece has a watering can, which is full of holes. It denotes the empty promises made by politicians and how they can’t contain their greed for power. All the works in the show are open to interpretation. The idea is that you don’t say everything openly but give a metaphor to the viewers and leave it at that. Then, it’s upto them how they interpret it. After all, the power of an art work lies in its suggestion.”

Kashi effects a correlation with the installations by displaying a set of ‘Artists’ Books’. They predominantly have visuals, not words, thereby defying the commonly-held notion of a book. The artist, who studied handmade papermaking in Glasgow, UK and Hanji (a traditional Korean paper making art) has created all these books manually. They are filled with images of objects from different places and time zones generating discontinuous stories.

Some of them have been carved from cement block.

Quiz him about his fascination for creating objects from handmade, found and second-hand objects and he replies, “They have a story of their own. The kind of history that they bring and the story they tell about the person who has used them is fascinating and interests me a lot.”

As for the colour palette, he has mainly stuck to brown to depict ‘a sense of past.’

Kashi intends Silent Echo to be a multi-dimensional experience with a common thread running through it. The third aspect is provided by three sets of works with photography as the mainstay. These works are from the series Memorial and explore the complex narratives that emerge from ‘showcases’ which are ubiquitous in most middle-class homes, and display cases in shops. An associate professor at a Bengaluru-based School of Architecture, he created all these works over a span of two-and-a-half years. The 50-year-old, who is exhibiting his creations in Mumbai after five years, says, “There are installations, photographs and drawings within which the images are echoed. Some images are repeated but the meaning changes each time because it comes with different objects.”

Silent Echo is on view at Sakshi Gallery from 11 am-6 pm till February 23, 2018.

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